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Honda TRX700XX: Unique is Only the Beginning



At the time of this article’s writing, the all-new Honda TRX700XX hasn’t arrived to dealer floors, but the boys in red have been sneaking test steeds around the nation in an effort to allow the press a chance to spend a few hours behind the bars of their latest creation. Naturally, it didn’t take much convincing to get us to stand in line for a chance to do so. To begin this report on the proverbial “right foot,” we have found it works best to get all preconceived notions about the machine out of your head right now. No, it’s not a desert version of the 450R nor is it a stripped-down utility model either. The 700XX is a technological orphan that finds itself without a class or even a single-minded purpose. In fact, if glancing at the spec sheet isn’t enough to convince you of this, the following report will.

The Walk Around

This machine doesn’t owe much of its heritage to any pre-existing models on Honda’s present line.  In fact, it has been engineered from the ground up and unlike most ATVs, doesn’t have a direct model to compete against. Honda, enjoying the freedom that comes with playing in the open class, spec’ed out an interesting blend of components, some of which are getting industry-wide recognition for their innovation. Among these is the fact that this model represents Honda’s first attempt at independent rear suspension (IRS) and a drive train that runs down the center of the quad. The chassis design itself is reminiscent of the Honda Sporttrax models with the biggest exception coming in the form of the front fender extenders, which actually reach all the way down to the bumper, becoming an air inductor in the process. Of course, things continue to look normal until you make your way to the rear of the quad. Here, the traditional sport quad configuration becomes lost to a pair of long-legged shocks (one for each wheel) surrounding both a center-mounted exhaust and drive-chain. All told, this machine looks quite sharp and sporty albeit tall. The seat height is a very comfortable 32 inches, but the machine comes standard with an impressive 10.2 inch ground clearance as visually indicated by the quad’s long legs.

The fit and finish is typical Honda which is to say all of the plastic fits perfectly, the metallurgy is spectacular, and the ergos leave little to be desired.


700cc's of pure power.

The Motor

Powering the new Honda TRX700XX is a 686cc single cylinder (based loosely on the XR650 top end) featuring a single overhead cam, liquid cooling, and Keihin PGM-FI fuel injection.  Naturally, the mill is electric start and uses the machine’s battery to power the fuel pump. A manual clutch 5-speed transmission (with reverse) round out the package.

The Test Ride

Like you, we had heard just about all we could take of product specifications and stats and wished to find the throttle-stop on this new monster. Once we were finally set free to unleash our curiosity, we found the big 700 fired up near-instantly with the slightest stab of the handlebar mounted button (the fuel injection is spot on) and ran with a mellow, almost electric exhaust note. Vibration was minimal and even giving the throttle a healthy flick resulted in little more than a slightly louder smooth rev. The quad runs with car-like precision.

We pulled in the silky smooth clutch lever and stepped the TRX down into first. With an equally smooth release, the 700XX got off the line fairly quickly and built revs in slow, even gobs of power. Half expecting the type of surge that comes from the smaller 450R, we eventually learned to relax on the 700XX and to allow the motor’s torque to make up for any spikes in the power band that we’re used to. In fact, it was actually surprising how smooth and mellow this massive thumper really is in action. Its smooth electric mannerisms are quite present even in the upper reaches of each gear. Unlike MX models, which are designed to be revved to the moon, the 700XX expects to be shifted (in some cases even down shifted) to keep the speed steadily building. Honda reminds that this is an X model (not an R), which means it is designed for recreational riding rather than racing. To that end indeed the TRX700XX makes nice linear power and excels in rocks, roots, water crossings, and even some sand (although calling this a dune machine would be a bit of a stretch as well). Pit pundits predict that Honda won’t be far behind in releasing an HRC kit designed to really open up the potential of the motor and until that happens don’t expect to see too many 700XXs on the race track.

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